Workspace Lunch and Learn: Good Photos Sharpen Business Image

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This month’s Lunch and Learn covered angles, light, and storytelling. Photographer Rachael Kloss Pawlik covered all of these topics and more in this seminar offered April 11 by the Cooperative Venture Workspace.

Rachael, a member at the Workspace, offered a variety of tips on how good
photography can enhance the image of a small business.

She is a small businesswoman herself as founder of Dragonfly Photography, and she spoke to 10 other small business entrepreneurs, among them a craft jeweler, interior designer, and videographer.

“The business part of it is always a challenge because I’m an artist first,” Rachael said as she started her present Lunch and Learn presentation, the third in a continuing series of peer-to-peer seminars offered by and at the Workspace. Previous seminars included tips on digital marketing and developing a business strategy.

Good photography — on the website and as part of a social media strategy — can help a business’s image, according to Rachael, and she went through a number of factors that contribute to a good photography. Her tips applied to those who take pictures with anything from a smartphone to a point-and-shoot camera to a single-lens reflex model.

She touched on the use of light, the need to tell a story through a photo, and the ways to best compose a photo.

Rachael said she likes to use natural light as much as possible. “Light is everything when you’re taking a photograph,” she said. She doesn’t like direct sunlight — it can create shadow and too much contrast. And she likes cloudy days particularly for portrait photography. “Embrace the gray,” she said. “Clouds act like a giant diffuser.”

Before composing a photo, Rachael encouraged the group to think of what story they want the picture to tell. She encouraged them to think of different angles or distances from which a subject might to photographed.

When it comes to shooting people, she advised to put them at ease and to get them in motion. “Try to break through that initial barrier,” she noted.

In composing a photo, Rachael said she likes to think in terms of the rule of thirds. She went to the whiteboard in the Workspace conference room and drew out a nine-square grid. In photography, the rule of thirds says that you should position the most important elements in your viewfinder along these lines, or at the points where they intersect.

“Your eyes keep circling around so you look at the whole picture,” she said.

She discussed some technical aspects, such as the use of the f-stop on cameras who aperture can be manually set. And she discussed the use of using a macro lens or setting, particularly on products. “This is where you get your get your cool shots,” she said.

Rachael had participants do some before and after shots of fruit she had them pick at the start of the class. The compositions of the photos of the apples and oranges certainly had a different look for the better when the session was completed.

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